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The Reading Room

The Reading Room

A place for bibliophiles to share their thoughts on recent reads and well-loved tomes.
Eric Logan
It’s not every day that an academic work, written by a French economist and published by a university press, is celebrated as a “watershed book,” but this is what commentators are saying about Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century—at least, liberal commentators. The New York Times’s Paul Krugman, among others, has deemed Capital the most important economic book in a decade. Less ideological readers should be more cautious. Piketty’s book is important and deserves respect: his 700-page opus, a decade in the making, brings together an incredible amount of data on the accumulation of capital since the Industrial Revolution. If you want to know, say, the relative income of a landowner in the United States or in France compared with an entrepreneur in the mid-nineteenth century, Piketty has an answer. Piketty also helps explain why the French remember their revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic period fondly: “It was an era of relative high wages for the lower class... more... - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world | Books | The Observer -
Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world | Books | The Observer
Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world | Books | The Observer
"This is a huge book, more than 700 pages long, dense with footnotes, graphs and mathematical formulae. At first sight it is unashamedly an academic tome and seems both daunting and incomprehensible. In recent weeks and months the book has however set off fierce debates in the United States about the dynamics of capitalism, and especially the apparently unstoppable rise of the tiny elite that controls more and more of the world's wealth. In non-specialist blogs and websites across America, it has ignited arguments about power and money, questioning the myth at the very heart of American life – that capitalism improves the quality of life for everyone. This is just not so, says Piketty, and he makes his case in a clear and rigorous manner that debunks everything that capitalists believe about the ethical status of making money." - Eivind from Bookmarklet
""One of the great divisive forces at work today," he says, "is what I call meritocratic extremism. This is the conflict between billionaires, whose income comes from property and assets, such as a Saudi prince, and super-managers. Neither of these categories makes or produces anything but their wealth, which is really a super-wealth that has broken away from the everyday reality of the... more... - Eivind
"Some people claim that the takeoff at the very top reflects the emergence of a new class of “superstars”—entrepreneurs, entertainers, sports stars, authors, and the like—who have exploited new technologies, such as the Internet, to enlarge their earnings at the expense of others in their field. If this is true, high rates of inequality may reflect a harsh and unalterable reality:... more... - Eivind
Eric Logan
‘Love and Math,’ The Heart of Hidden Reality by Edward Frenkel - -
‘Love and Math,’ The Heart of Hidden Reality by Edward Frenkel -
Frenkel believes math deserves to be an integral part of our culture. Why is every­one talking about planets, atoms and DNA and not symmetry groups? For one thing, you can’t get cancer from a mutation of a symmetry group. But Frenkel writes that math “directs the flow of the universe.” It’s as elegant as music and as much a part of our intellectual heritage as literature. He strives to awaken our wonder by taking us on an equation-packed tour of his research, in which he reveals a “hidden” world few of us encountered in school. As a student, Frenkel, too, shunned math. He was seduced by physics and particularly fascinated by the theory of quarks, the building blocks for, among other things, the protons and neutrons that make up the atomic nucleus. At 14, he learned that quark theory was based on the mathematics of symmetry groups. He fell in love and never looked back. - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
If we understood quaternion math--the most difficult math that even mathematicians can't grasp--we would be able to understand electromagnetic energy. An Irishman invented quaternion math in 1845. Maxwell's theory was originally in quaternion equations. Heaviside and Gibbs mutilate Maxwell's theory by reducing the 20 quaternion equations to four vector ones. And so we lost the unified field theory. - MRW_8
Eric Logan
Innovation: The Government Was Crucial After All by Jeff Madrick | The New York Review of Books -
Innovation: The Government Was Crucial After All by Jeff Madrick | The New York Review of Books
The LS3, a four-legged rough-terrain robot designed by Boston Dynamics with funding from DARPA and the US Marine Corps to accompany soldiers anywhere they go on foot, and to help respond to natural and man-made disasters, at the DARPA Robotics ­Challenge Trials, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Florida, December 2013. That month, Boston Dynamics was acquired by Google, which says it will honor existing contracts with DARPA but is rejecting other DARPA funding. - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
Stephen Mack
April is upon us! Do you read? Want to discuss a book with fellow FFers? Why then, please join us in the Kindler's List room. You don't need a Kindle, but if you happen to have one, you can read this book for free if you have Amazon Prime. -
April is upon us! Do you read? Want to discuss a book with fellow FFers? Why then, please join us in the Kindler's List room. You don't need a Kindle, but if you happen to have one, you can read this book for free if you have Amazon Prime.
This month's selection: The Seventh Child by Erik Valeur, translated by K.E. Semmel. - Stephen Mack from Bookmarklet
All are welcome! - Stephen Mack
Jenny H.
I read Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel when I was 16 years old. It just dawned on me that it was the first book I read in the magical realism genre (which is now one of my favorite literary genres). It was wonderful. #SaturdayFF -
I haven't read the book, but I saw the movie twice, loved it so much. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
I enjoyed the film, as well. :) - Jenny H.
I haven't read the book or watched the film, but I do, on occasion, enjoy chocolate :) - Eivind
Go home, Eivind. - Jenny H.
I'll allow it, Eivind. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
\(^_^)/ - Eivind
Oh! I like that genre, too. Any recommendations beyond this book? - Marie
did you play the cd at those sections it was marked at? #adored this book. still do actually. - Lnorigb
All I remember about this book is the sex-on-a-horse scene. And the way my English teacher kept talking about it while fanning herself. >.> - Soup in a TARDIS
Marie, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and anything by Haruki Murakami. :) - Jenny H. from Android
I didn't, Lnor, but I'm tempted to go back now! - Jenny H. from Android
I write in the same genre but in my stories, everyone’s miserable all the time. - Akiva
Go home, Akiva. - Jenny H. from Android
I already have my bus pass. - Akiva
One Hundred Years of Solitude was the first book that I read of that genre. It was indeed magical. - Jkram|ɯɐɹʞſ
I had no idea magical realism was a genre! I read Like Water for Chocolate and Winter's Tale ages ago! - Yvonne
HIGH SCHOOL | MT, USA | (It is just one month into my job after being hired as the new English teacher. Before I was hired, the superintendent informed me that I would be coming up with a new curriculum for secondary level English. The day finally comes for me to present the new curriculum.) Superintendent: “Oh, [My Name]! Glad to see you here bright and early. Let’s go into the conference room. Luckily, everyone is early today, so we can get started right away.” (I wasn’t informed there would be anyone else, but thought nothing of it at that moment. I gathered my materials and went to the conference room. There I found the math teacher, science teacher, music teacher, and the superintendent. It takes about an hour to run through my entire curriculum plan.) Me: “Are there any questions?” Music Teacher: “We want the students to be ready for college. I specifically want them to be able to get any reference or joke made about all of the classics.” Me: “I’m happy to hear that you agree... more... - Betsy brain just broke. - Sir Shuping is just sir
Exactly like this - lris
Let me just leave the application of this to arguments about library-school curricula to the imagination, shall I, then? - RepoRat
iris that seems strangely familiar to me actually... - Sir Shuping is just sir
Katy S
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights: Steve Sheinkin: 9781596437968: Books -
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights: Steve Sheinkin: 9781596437968: Books
If you're looking for good YA nonfiction, I recommend this one. - Katy S from Bookmarklet
You'd think as a gunnery officer I would have had to study that but I don't think I learned about it until I was off the ship. I think there was a tv special and the I read about it. - Christina Pikas from iPhone
I'm really glad Sheinkin did such a good job with it for a middle school/high school audience. He writes great nonfiction for that age group, in general, but this is a particularly important story to tell. - Katy S
Katy S
This is my new favorite booktrailer. - Katy S from Bookmarklet
*promptly orders book* - Soup in a TARDIS
It looks to be wonderful. - Katy S
Spidra Webster
Collection Availability 1 | Pilot Collection - http://collections.knowledgeun...
Collection Availability 1 | Pilot Collection
"Nearly 300 libraries from 24 countries have pledged their support for making the collection Open Access. There is no embargo period for Pilot Collection titles. We are carrying out the practical tasks associated with making the PDFs available, discoverable and accessible on a Creative Commons license via OAPEN, HathiTrust and the British Library. Doing this properly takes a little time. Click on any of the icons in the list to access the OA version of the book. If you would like to pre-register your interest in supporting future collections, click here." - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Humble eBook Bundle 3 (pay what you want and help charity) -
Humble eBook Bundle 3 (pay what you want and help charity)
Mostly geek fiction, but if you like geek fiction, you might want to check out this deal to get several e-books, pay what you want. - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Proceeds support the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association emergency med fund and - Spidra Webster
Katy S
LGBTQ-Friendly YA Novels Get Award Nods, But Are They Getting a Crossover Audience? | Bustle -
LGBTQ-Friendly YA Novels Get Award Nods, But Are They Getting a Crossover Audience? | Bustle
"On March 6, the finalists for the 26th annual Lambda Literary Awards were announced, and they set records for the number of LGBTQ books submitted. The Lambda awards, or “Lammys,” include several categories all geared toward rewarding new books that explore LGBTQ themes or characters. This year, the finalists were chosen from a selection of 746 submissions from 352 publishers — a Lammy record, and up from 2012, which had 687 and 332, respectively. These awards, along with other recent award nods may suggest a changing tide for LGBTQ lit, finally finding a strong foothold in the mainstream fiction and nonfiction YA marketplace" - Katy S from Bookmarklet
Katy S
Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books? - -
Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books? -
This is such an excellent essay. - Katy S
Katy S
The Apartheid of Children’s Literature - -
The Apartheid of Children’s Literature -
This: "They see books less as mirrors and more as maps. They are indeed searching for their place in the world, but they are also deciding where they want to go. They create, through the stories they’re given, an atlas of their world, of their relationships to others, of their possible destinations. We adults — parents, authors, illustrators and publishers — give them in each book a world of supposedly boundless imagination that can delineate the most ornate geographies, and yet too often today’s books remain blind to the everyday reality of thousands of children. Children of color remain outside the boundaries of imagination. The cartography we create with this literature is flawed." - Katy S
Stephen Mack
Please join us in in "Kindler's List," the FF book club. Our selection for March is "When I Found You" by Catherine Ryan Hide. -
Please join us in in "Kindler's List," the FF book club. Our selection for March is "When I Found You" by Catherine Ryan Hide.
Kindler's List room is open to all -- please stop on by! It's focused on selecting one of the free reading library books for Kindle owners each month, but you don't have to have a Kindle (or any e-reader) to join in if you're willing to acquire the book we select. - Stephen Mack from Bookmarklet
Description of "When I Found You": "While duck hunting one morning, childless, middle-aged Nathan McCann finds a newborn abandoned in the woods. To his shock, the child—wrapped in a sweater and wearing a tiny knitted hat—is still alive. To his wife’s shock, Nathan wants to adopt the boy…but the child’s grandmother steps in. Nathan makes her promise, however, that one day she’ll bring... more... - Stephen Mack
Just reserved it at my local library so I'll be a bit more behind than the rest of you, but looking forward to it. Really loved the other book I read by her :-) - Heleninstitches
Spidra Webster
"I've been thinking about doing this for a while. In fact, I’ve been thinking about doing this for at least a year. I thought about starting it at the start of the new year, but I immediately got the flu or something and pretty much everything fell by the wayside. Since then I’ve been aware that although it’s a year-long project, that year can start at any point; there’s no reason that it has to start on January 1. And when I realized all of a sudden that it’s International Women’s Day, I thought, that’s it; it’s a sign. I'd love to properly credit this painting, but I have no idea what it is, only that it's all over the internet. I’d love to properly credit this painting, but I dunno what it is, only that it’s all over the internet. My project is to read 52 books by women authors this year. That averages one book a week, so that’ll be my benchmark, although if I read two in one week and it takes me a couple of weeks to read another, that’s fine too. My plan at this point is for them... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Twelve Years a Slave: Free eBook and Audio Book of the Memoir Behind the Film (1853) - Open Culture -
Twelve Years a Slave: Free eBook and Audio Book of the Memoir Behind the Film (1853) - Open Culture
"On Sunday night, 12 Years a Slave was named best picture at the 86th Academy Awards. And John Ridley, the film’s screenwriter, won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Ridley’s screenplay was based, of course, on Twelve Years a Slave, the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup. Published not long after Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her famous novel about slavery, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Northup’s book became something of a bestseller, selling around 30,000 copies, before falling into relative obscurity for the next century and a half. The 2013 film obviously put the memoir back into the spotlight, and it inspired someone (we’re not sure exactly who) to put the book on the web in a handsome, readable format. You can head over to to read Northup’s dramatic personal account, free online. Or find somewhat less attractive (though still serviceable and downloadable) versions at For anyone interested in downloading Twelve Years a Slave as a free audio book, Librivox has you... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
New Statesman | I don’t want to be a rare successful female writer. I just want to be a successful writer -
"More often than not, when you pick up a new book in a bookshop, it will be by yet another white man, meaning that white and male will be what the next set of Big Names will look like. How can we break out of this self-reinforcing cycle?" - Betsy from Bookmarklet
Eric Logan
‘Our Mathematical Universe,’ by Max Tegmark - -
‘Our Mathematical Universe,’ by Max Tegmark -
Halfway into his new book, “Our Mathematical Universe,” the M.I.T. physicist Max Tegmark describes his “Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde Strategy”: During the day he would do respectable work on mainstream topics in cosmology, but at night he would “transform into the evil Mr. Hyde” and indulge in writing “wacky” papers on “the ultimate nature of reality.” This strategy is employed in the book itself, which can be divided into two parts, different as day and night. One, by Dr. Tegmark, is an informative survey of exciting recent developments in astrophysics and quantum theory. The other, by Mr. Tegmark, is a discussion of his controversial idea that reality itself is a mathematical structure. The first part starts with a list of fundamental questions, such as: Is space infinite? Is the Milky Way expanding? What caused the Big Bang? What are dark matter and dark energy? After lucidly educating us about stars and galaxies, Dr. Tegmark quickly gets to the main points. He tells us of cosmic microwave... more... - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
The Daily Dot - Apparently, these guys don't want women to write science fiction -
The Daily Dot - Apparently, these guys don't want women to write science fiction
"Just when readers thought the dust had settled on last week’s debate about “political correctness” in sci-fi publishing, a group of highly influential writers spent the past few days lamenting the rise of increasingly vocal women and minorities in their community. The discussion happened on a list-serv thread where the participants apparently thought no one would notice them—at least until they remembered all their posts were public." - Anika from Bookmarklet
Oops. - Victor Ganata
x___x - Pixie
I think my favorite part is all of the mansplaining in the comments - the menz are saving the world from PC! That's the real danger! - Jennifer Dittrich
The dude mad at the lady who has shots on the beach that turned him on is on something. In his pea brain he's managed to make it her fault that she calls herself a feminist and wears v-neck dresses. - Anika
The Best "Entry Level" Science Fiction Books to Convert Your Friends -
The Best "Entry Level" Science Fiction Books to Convert Your Friends
Show all
"There's been a lot of talk about the need for "entry level" science fiction and fantasy recently, spurred by writers like John Scalzi and editors like Patrick Nielsen Hayden. The great strength of science fiction and fantasy is the wealth of ideas the genre contains, and the long-running dialogue among authors, and between authors, editors, and readers. But that strength can also create a huge barrier to entry for new readers. So we asked a dozen of our favorite writers and editors to name their favorite "entry level" SF books, including Scalzi and Nielsen Hayden. Here's what they told us!" - Betsy from Bookmarklet
omg that is like a who's who of fantasy books I hate. All it needs now is Wizard's First Rule to serve as a crowning glory. O_O - Soup in a TARDIS
Wow, Imaro's on there! It's not that easy to come by, last I knew. - Spidra Webster
Looks like it still isn't, Spidra. I'm mostly seeing relatively high priced used copy sellers. Didn't check libraries though. - Soup in a TARDIS
There's one for $7.50. Otherwise yeah, expensive. - Betsy
Katy S
Do any of y'all have any favorite resources you use when you need to defend graphic novels as literature and/or art?
my own two cents from a blog post/article I'm working on: "Just because the book is written in pictures, doesn’t mean it takes less skill to read it. In fact there are studies that prove that it takes more effort to read and process an image, because you’re focusing on so many different factors all at once. The position of the character, their facial expressions, what happens in the... more... - Sir Shuping is just sir
Comics Grid, journal of comics scholarship? Not entirely on graphic novels, but related. - Regular Amanda
Prose books are a medium. There are good books, mediocre books and bad books. Graphic novels/comics are a medium. There are good ones, mediocre ones and bad ones. There is nothing intrinsic to the medium that makes it substandard. If they're asking serious questions instead of just being bigoted, send them to Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. - Spidra Webster
Thanks everyone! - Katy S
Spidra - There's definitely some bigotry to the medium going on here, but it needs to be addressed. - Katy S
I might start by pulling out old quotes about how prose novels used to be considered the downfall of society. - Andrew C (✔)
Have them read Persepolis or Maus - maʀtha
What Martha said. Also: FROM HELL; BONE; ALEC, THE KING CANUTE CROWD (actually anything by Eddie Campbell); TRANSMETROPOLITAN; THE TALE OF ONE BAD RAT (and practically anything by Bryan Talbot); PALESTINE; CASANOVA; DAYTRIPPER - MoTO Moca Blend
“What Not To Read” — A Different Sort Of Book Club | BOOK RIOT"What Not To Read" -- A Different Sort Of Book Club - BOOK RIOT -
“What Not To Read” — A Different Sort Of Book Club | BOOK RIOT"What Not To Read" -- A Different Sort Of Book Club - BOOK RIOT
I love this idea! - Melly from Bookmarklet
What book would you take to this kind of book club? - Melly
Anything by PD James or Dan Brown. - Anika
Katy S
Sherman Alexie Book Assigned to Students Stirs Controversy at Miami School | NBC 6 South Florida -
Sherman Alexie Book Assigned to Students Stirs Controversy at Miami School | NBC 6 South Florida
Once again, I am furious with people. - Katy S from Bookmarklet
Katy S
American Library Association announces 2014 youth media award winners -- PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- -
For those interested. - Katy S from Bookmarklet
Fwiw, the Newbery winner this year is a delight! - Katy S
"Gold Box Deal of the Day: 75 Top-Rated Kindle Books: Novels, Nonfiction, and More for $1.99" - Kristin from Bookmarklet
Thanks for the tip! - Spidra Webster
Of course! - Kristin
Yikes! This is dangerous! - Melly
Just finished "I Wear the Black Hat" by Chuck Klosterman. Highly recommended! Just started "Hyperbole and a Half" by Allie Brosh.
Hyperbole and a a Half = awesome. and I saw that it's had the top spot or close to the top spot on Amazon's graphic novel list for the last few months - Sir Shuping is just sir
Katy S
BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Drama, Four Quartets -
BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Drama, Four Quartets
"Jeremy Irons reads Four Quartets by T.S.Eliot." - Katy S from Bookmarklet
Katy S
REFERENCE QUESTION: Dearest librarians and readers, this year I made a New Year's Resolution to read at least one book per month that normally wouldn't choose (genres I don't usually read, as one example). What would you recommend from the following genres: Romance, Christian Fiction, Amish Fiction, Mysteries, and "cozy" fiction?
Or, if you just want to suggest something you love, that would be great, too. To give you an idea of how this is going so far, my first book was Rush Limbaugh's children's book Rush Revere And The Brave Pilgrims. I hope that future books are more enjoyable than that one. - Katy S
Oh, graphic novels (bonus points if it isn't part of a series) will work, too. As will most bestsellers. - Katy S
Oh lord, graphic Novels: From Hell, Why I Hate Saturn, The King Canute Crowd, Bone... these are just for starters. - MoTO Moca Blend
For Christian fiction, possibly Father Elijah by Michael O'Brien ( . Now, it's a 600 page book, so that may knock it out of the running. Its' also the 4th in a connected series, but they all do a fine job of standing alone. For Amish (and I can't believe I'm actually making a recommendation, but the darn things suck me in)... more... - ellbeecee
ellbeecee - Length doesn't deter me. :) - Katy S
For mysteries, I'd recommend Dorothy Sayers - probably "Murder Must Advertise," since it is funny, and fairly stand-alone. The best are probably the first three with Harriet Vane (Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, and Gaudy Night) but that might be more than you want to wade into. Agatha Christie, of course, where you can't go too wrong. Margery Allingham's "Sweet Danger" is a particular... more... - Jennifer Dittrich
Ok then. :) finally....when you say romance, just how trashy are you willing to go? My go-to authors tend to be Julia Quinn and Tessa Dare. But Stephanie Laurens is also good. (Note that I tend to fall to the historical romance side, not modern romance, most of the time). None of these are particularly trashy, though there is sex, fwiw. - ellbeecee
I can go trashy. :) - Katy S
A meta-recommendation for romance: You can search reviews by letter-grade to find their top picks. (For lightweight not-so-trashy modern romance a standard recommendation is anything by Jennifer Crusie.) - Catherine Pellegrino
Y'all rock! - Katy S
It's not really Christian fiction (and the author is Jewish) but 'The Sparrow' and its sequel 'Children of God' come to mind for me for themes and characters. I read not-so-very-good mysteries (like Kathy Reichs) but my grandmum was a fan of Rita Mae Brown's cozy cat mysteries (I having only read 'Rubyfruit Jungle'). - joey
I'll also second Julia Quinn and add Eloisa James--the latter is a tenured Shakespeare professor by day. I can give you specific book suggestions if you like. Cozy fiction and/or murder: Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews. She's written an extensive series, that's the first and hands down the one I reread the most. Definitely funny. Does Jasper Fforde count as cozy fiction? - Hedgehog
I second all the authors Laura mentioned, and I have a bunch of others. I can also second Jennifer Crusie for contemporary fiction. I also enjoy Susan Elizabeth Phillips for contemporary. Also!! Manda Collins is a librarian and romance novelist (she also writes historicals). - Laura
Christian fiction: anything by Karen Kingsbury. She writes a lot of series titles, but she also writes stand-alones. You cannot go wrong! - Jenny
I'm checking out Mary Poppins, as soon as I get a copy. - L.W. Flouisa
Another for Eloisa James, Julia Quinn also Caroline Linden (Harvard math degree ). The pink carnation series- where dies that go? Mystery ? Romance? Lisa kleypas. Christina Dodd is ok. - Christina Pikas from iPhone
I thoroughly enjoyed the books by John Locke, specifically his series with the character Donovan Creed. I found his style and humor causing me to laugh out loud too many times! The fire ant chapter was epic if you go through his series, you will understand! - Janet
I do not normally read in any of the above genres either, but I recently devoured all the Ruth Galloway mysteries by Elly Griffiths for probably obvious reasons. - laura x from iPhone
And Then There Were None (Ten Little Indians) or Murder on the Orient Express by the wonderful Agatha Christie. - Jenny H. from Android
For darker, engrossing mystery: Elizabeth George. Standalone graphic novel: watchmen. Or mouse guard. (Two very different options!) - Jenica from iPhone
For Christian fiction, I recommend Joshua by Joseph Girzone. - Holly's favorite Anna from Android
Following - Yvonne from FFHound!
Thanks again, everyone! If you think of any others, feel free to add those, too. :) - Katy S
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